Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Shortbox 7/12/07

The Boys #8
writer: Garth Ennis
artist: Darick Robertson
Dynamite Entertainment, released 6-27-07
I'm going to do my best not to make a Thin Lizzy joke for this review. That said, two issues into their run at Dynamite and I don't think these boys are back in town yet (okay, so I didn't try very hard). It's a pretty solid issue, however, and you do have to keep in mind that this was written before the creators knew they were going to be ousted from their initial home at Wildstorm. In other words, the second arc is probably going to move a little slower than the first.
The depiction of sexually dysfunctional superheroes continues, which one would hope isn't the only despicable aspect to this world's protectors (wow, I guess I actually want there to be something more appalling than that), but damn if it isn't interesting. Thankfully, Ennis does balance the homosexual perversions with more realistic issues, some that occur today and other more fantastic ones that likely would if we actually had powered people running amok. Although there isn't anything in particular to get excited over in this issue, it no doubt is setting things up down the line. A little more info on the Frenchman and the Female wouldn't hurt either.
7 out of 10

Thunderbolts #115
writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Marvel Comics, released 6-27-07
I added this book to my pull list on a whim, and while it's been okay so far, I haven't felt compelled to write anything about for LowBrowMedia until now. Deodato's art is phenomenal in the issue. It's been great all along, but now with the ridiculously awesome violence that was in this one, he's moved onto my "will buy a book just because it says 'art by Mike Deodato, Jr.' on it" list. Even though it's the Scorpion inside, the new Venom has some great scenes in this one (bring back Brock at any time, Marvel). But this issue truly belongs to Bullseye. Being one of my favorite villains (big DD fan, remember?), Bullseye really hadn't done much in the book thus far, which had been disappointing. Then, rather unexpectedly, Ellis unleashed the psychopath that Bullseye is, maybe crazier than I've ever read him before (and that's saying something). I'll stay spoiler-free for this review, but Bullseye's future is a giant question mark at the close of the issue.
Also, I really have to give props to Ellis for making me care about the F-list level heroes he's put up against the T-Bolts. I can't believe I actually give a shit about a guy called American Eagle and I was actually pissed when Jack Flag died a few issues back. For hating superheroes, Warren Ellis sure knows how to write them.
9 out of 10

Jack of Fables #11
writers: Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges
artist: Steve Leialoha
Vertigo/DC Comics, released 6-6-07
Five months after starting this two-part arc we finally receive some resolution. That said, I did love the little "don't worry, we'll fix it in the trade" line that they gave at the end of Jack of Fables #6. This is turning into a pretty good book. I had my doubts about it's longevity early on, but it looks like it'll be around for some time. The most interesting thing about this story has been yet-to-be-seen ramifications of Jack's recklessness with the Snow Queen. We certainly haven't seen the last of her. Willingham's plan for these Fables characters is extraordinary. Making Jack's actions the cause for her becoming the cold-hearted, evil legend we all know was brilliant. I hope at some point the events of this book are felt in the pages of Fables, though I think that may be a long time coming.
8 out of 10

Moon Knight #11
writer: Charlie Huston
artists: Mico Suayan & Frank D'Armata
Marvel Comics, released 6-20-07
The first six issues of this latest incarnation of Moon Knight were some of my favorite books put out over the past year. Since then, Huston has tied MK into the greater Marvel U again, which in theory is a great idea, but the execution has been underwhelming at best. We've had guest spots from Spidey, Captain America, the Punisher and now Iron Man over the past few months. Steve Rodgers was the only one that didn't seem forced to me, but it certainly did not have to be included. These have all been little scenes tying into Civil War. In fact, despite the proclamation on the cover that this is an Initiative issue, the events actually take place before CW #6. How long ago did that book come out?! Has it been seven months already? So add to the lackluster plot and forced tie-in elements the fact that the plot occurred so long ago that I'm no longer interested. We know Moon Knight didn't do anything in Civil War already, so what's the point of forcing it down our throats this long afterwards?
The truly saddening thing about all of this is that Huston is clearly a good writer and has the character of Moon Knight down. But this is also his first comic-writing endeavor, and he hasn't learned how to do a proper tie-in yet. I hope Huston comes back to comics after his Moon Knight run, striking a Brad Meltzer-like balance between his novels and comic work. In the mean time, here's to Marvel picking a strong writer to take the good that Huston's done with the character and make him great.
5 out of 10

Wasteland #10
writer: Antony Johnston
artist: Christopher Mitten
Oni Press, released 6-1-07
It's been almost a year since I last checked in with Wasteland here at LowBrowMedia and a lot has happened. The various fractions of the story are beginning to come together now, and what I suspected then I can now proclaim is true -- this is a great book. Yes, it's still just getting started, but with every issue that comes out, it's clear that this story is going somewhere. I can't tell exactly where yet, but I do know that Johnston has a plan for it, and as long as we, the comic-buying public, keep supporting it, we'll get there. The astounding piece of information we got in this issue is that Michael, Abi and Marcus all have ties to a world that (through Marcus' memory) is much more like our own than the "modern" world of Wasteland. How this all ties back to the America that we know is what keeps me repeatedly riveted each month.
Mitten's art is great once again, and his style appropriately evolves when a dream, flashback or hallucination is shown. The great thing about this book is that it is by no means too late to jump on it. If you agree with my reviews on this site, then you'll love this book.
9 out of 10

Iron Fist #6
writers: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
artists: David Aja & Russ Heath
Marvel Comics, released 6-27-07
Amazingly enough, I haven't reviewed this title yet for the site. As you can probably guess, I'm ecstatic for each and every morsel I can get on it. It's written by two of the most exciting guys involved in comics right now and drawn exquisitely by a bevy of artists. David Aja draws the present-day Iron Fist story, while the other artists take care of the flashback portions of the story, which there are a lot of. That process, while unorthodox, is great, not only because it will keep the book from going late, but the styles themselves compliment each other and the eras they are depicting. This issue closes out the first arc and guest stars the original Heroes for Hire crew kicking some Hydra ass along with Iron Fist and his grand-pappy, Orson Rand. It is wall-to-wall action this go-around, and it's just a great read. Taking the billionaire playboy down to nothing, then mixing classic kung-fu mysticism with modern-day sensibilities drives forth a compelling and riveting ride each time I pick up an issue. This is probably my favorite Marvel book right now and it has the potential to get better. Who knows if it will, but a kung-fu competition in the next arc is a great place to start.
10 out of 10

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